Fruits Basket Episode 10: Double date

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Hana the great detective

After introducing a few more zodiac animals, this week’s episode surprisingly shifts back to the main cast. There’s a lot more to Shigure and Kyou than I was expecting, and it was fun to see. I’ve been hearing the rumors of a 63 episode adaptation, so I might be in for a grind. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing how Tohru breaks through Kyou’s shell and softens the darker side of Shigure. We all know it’s happening.

Shigure questions Kyou's feelings

Manipulative or not, I liked seeing Shigure call Kyou out in this scene. It’s interesting to see Kyou using his rivalry with Yuuki as a crutch, and Shigure’s calm analysis of the situation draws it out. I’m curious what Kyou could be hiding that would make him resent Yuuki. It seems odd for the two to have their current interactions if it was as simple as Yuuki sacrificing himself for Kyou in some way.

Tohru tries to comfort Kyou

I respect that Tohru doesn’t try to push Kyou too much. He’s clearly dealing with some kind of trauma, and I guess she’s too much of a calming presence to force him to face it before he’s ready. It’s like a bit of back-and-forth between Tohru and Shigure in some senses.

Shigure faces some criticism

On the other hand, I think the duality behind Shigure could lead to some entertaining developments. It seems that he plays the fool, which makes it hard to take him seriously when he talks about taking advantage of Tohru. It makes me question whether it falls into the standard scenario of overselling his dark side. That’s at least my initial impression of his confession in this episode.

Shigure tends to Akito

That being said, it’s definitely creepy that Shigure pretends to be an ally to Akito. Despite not really liking what we’ve seen of the character so far, I’m almost rooting for Akito to have some idea of what Shigure is doing. It’s not as fun if the “battle” is one-sided, right?

Shigure's editor introduces herself

I suppose Shigure’s editor also introduces herself in this episode. I’m not sure how to feel about it, though, since she doesn’t seem to do much. Future plans?

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Fruits Basket Episode 9: The imposing ox

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Haru is in bike mode

Apparently, the French Open was not as much of a delay tactic as I was hoping. It certainly looked like this episode was introducing a new character, but it seems to have been progress for Yuuki all along. I guess we’re back to slowly moving through the other zodiac animals at this point. At this point, we only have so much time left in the series, so I can understand that. Or does it? Is there supposed to be more than one cour for this series? That would be nice.

Kyou is ready for a showdown

I found Kyou’s reasoning in this episode pretty interesting. I definitely expected him to be the type of person who wouldn’t accept a victory against a weakened Yuuki. But instead, he just rationalizes it away while making a joke about the typical view of “idiots and colds”. It’s certainly different, if a bit unsettling.

Tohru isn't sure what to do

Weekly reminder that Tohru is an excellent protagonist.

Dark Haru arrives

Haru’s kind of a weird character for me. He bears too much similarity to Kyou and Kagura when it comes to personality, so it’s hard for me to see him as a someone separate. However, his backstory is excellent in this episode, and I really liked how he was introduced.

Yuuki collapses

This scene has me curious. It’s reasonable for Yuuki to succumb to his illness, but Haru’s reaction makes it seem like it’s unrelated to the illness. Is it another part of being a zodiac animal or does Yuuki have another hidden element to his past? It certainly seems to be the latter, and the episode suggests that it has to do with Akito.

Haru talks about being the ox

As I mentioned before, I thought that Haru’s backstory was great. I liked the idea that his child self imprinted on the idea of being the ox and internalized insults towards the ox as a result. It’s a nice demonstration of why it’s important to watch your words, especially around children who might not know better.

Yuuki is embarrassed

The cow scenes with Haru in this episode were hilarious, but my favorite animal scene from this episode was the blushing rat at the end.

Fruits Basket Episode 8: New Year’s with family

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Tohru has no plans for New Year's

At this point, this series is just a constant feels trip, and I don’t have a problem with that. I liked that this episode was mainly focused on developing Tohru, and expanding the relationship Kyo and Yuuki have with her. They’re really coming together as a strong main group. I don’t know what drama is in store for them, but I’m glad that these kinds of developments are happening before they start going.

Tohru stays at the Souma residence for New Year's

I think the most surprising part of this episode for me was that this was the first New Year’s she was experiencing without her mother. Maybe it’s something that has been mentioned before, but her generally cheerful attitude makes it seem like something she’s long gotten over. That small reminder in this episode is a great way of framing the episode.

Kyo is not allowed to attend the main event

The Souma New Year’s celebration itself was a surprise as well. The event definitely seemed like something a character like Tohru would normally crash. It would be a chance for her to finally meet the rest of the family, but it’s pretty much skipped.

Hana gives Kyou and Yuuki a push

What I found interesting about this episode was the fact that Hana and Uo didn’t leave their families to be with Tohru. Perhaps it’s just meant to indicate that they have a stronger familial connection than Kyou and Yuuki, but I thought it was a bit odd that they instead pushed the Soumas to join Tohru. Given that the boys needed push in the first place, maybe the girls were just giving them a chance to grow closer to Tohru.

Tohru is in danger of choking

It’s a small part of the episode, but I do like the extended joke of Tohru choking on mochi in this episode. It’s something that really suits her character, and it’s a fun inside joke at this point in the episode.

The three see the sunrise together

I’m curious to see if this episode is setting something up. Shigure has a minor comment in the episode about Akito reaping what is sowed, which indicates where his true support lies. If Akito flies into a rage at Yuuki for not attending the family dinner, it would make sense for that anger to be directed at Tohru.

Fruits Basket Episode 7: What a tale of loss

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Tohru is nervous to meet Hatori

Okay, that was a level of sadness that I wasn’t expecting to see…this series doesn’t hold back. I definitely can’t help but feel really bad for Hatori after hearing his story. It’s kind of a weird character arc too, since the episode ends with a somewhat bleak outlook for Hatori that I don’t think he deserves. I guess the point of the episode was to set up Akito as the definitive antagonist in the story. Well done?

Akito lashes out at Hatori for trying to marry

I find it hard to believe I’ll be able to eventually sympathize with Akito, but I suppose I’ve been wrong before. If someone like Hatori doesn’t seem to resent Akito, there must be a good reason behind everything. The episode mentions a “curse” of some sort, which seems to be separate from the zodiac thing, so maybe Akito has a personal curse.

Tohru gets flustered

Tohru has so many good facial expressions. And if Akito flipped out in response to Hatori trying to marry someone from a branch family, I can’t imagine what the reaction to Tohru will be. Then again, Tohru exists to win everyone in the Souma family over, right?

Hatori changes

Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting to see a seahorse in the zodiac. I find it funny that the seahorse is used here, since it’s not clear whether it’s meant to represent the dragon or the horse in the zodiac. They’re both there, after all. That being said, the dragon is much harder to account for, so I suppose it makes sense for Hatori to be the dragon. After all, there’s a clear gap between the general impression dragons tend to give and the appearance of Hatori’s animal form. I doubt that’s a coincidence.

Hatori is forced to erase Kana's memories

This story was hard enough to watch when it was just a recounting. Seeing it happen in real time is just depressing. I have to give the series credit. It handles the emotional stuff well.

Hatori runs into a familiar voice

The last scene in the episode just makes me feel more bad for Hatori. He seems to find some solace in Tohru’s words, but that just makes him part of the harem. And even if Kana’s memories return, it doesn’t solve everything if she’s found someone else to make her happy. Maybe Tohru helps him move on to someone else?

Fruits Basket Episode 6: Old friends

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Kyou eats a cat rice ball

I definitely liked how this week’s episode developed Tohru’s friends from school. I’d been feeling weird about the fact that they were getting pushed to the side, so it’s nice to see how they support Tohru. It can be hard to keep track of them amongst all of the Souma family characters. On that note, it looks like the Souma family is where the focus of the series is heading from here.

A mysterious bunny appears

The Souma family has been a weird looming specter so far. From my perspective, they’ve mostly been trickling in to fill in the zodiac, so I’m kind of curious what purpose they serve to the overall story. They’re a rather diverse group of characters, so I suppose there’s a lot of room for interaction.

Tohru's friends question her

I like the idea that Tohru answers Uo honestly without thought here. There’s a sense here that she’s mostly been trying to misdirect her friends, rather than outright lie to them. From that, I get the impression that she cares about them to be straight with them when they’re being insistent. It works well for a makeshift parent-child relationship.

Uo and Hana try to support Tohru

I enjoyed the portrayal of Tohru’s relationship with her friends in this episode. They overtly came off as doting parents, but I felt like I could sense their own frustration at being unable to help Tohru like a parent should. It’s clear that they’re trying to fill the void left by her mother’s passing, and they’re making an honest effort.

Tohru remembers a mysterious boy from her past

I’m less enthusiastic about the hat revelation in this episode. I understand that this series is fairly old, so it can’t really be held responsible for the other shows that use this concept. But I guess I’m getting a bit jaded towards the idea of a long-lost secret relationship between the protagonist and one of their love interests.

Hatori calls Tohru for a secret meeting

This series sure does have a lot of cliffhangers for its mostly lighthearted tone…

Fruits Basket Episode 5: Being selfish

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Tohru prepares to move back in with her family

Okay, this episode convinced me. The emotional note in this episode was well done and made me like Tohru a lot more than I did before. I think the episode did a great job of fleshing her character out. It was almost strange in a way. This episode felt like it was a resolution of sorts, but it’s happening incredibly early in the series. Does this mean I should be worried or hopeful about what comes next?

Tohru is comforted by her mother

I like how the episode sets up its conclusion with a flashback of Tohru’s mother, calling out her self-sacrificing behavior that could be used against her. It’s a nice sense of encouragement that helps to frame Tohru as a character. Her mother recognizes that she’s not just hopelessly optimistic, and tries to draw that out of her.

Tohru's relatives try to investigate the Souma's

If there’s one issue I had with the series, it was how much Tohru relatives seemed to be trying to be bad guys. It’s a bit jarring to be introduced to people for the first time just have them do somewhat outlandish things like hiring a private detective. I get why they’re there, but it would be nice if it wasn’t blaring in my face, I guess.

Tohru's grandfather gives her some encouragement

I also think it was funny that the grandfather was acting completely senile despite being the most rational person in the room. I got the sense that he was trying to point out the weakness in Tohru’s thought process. She’s effectively convinced herself of what she should do while ignoring what anyone else thinks.

Kyou and Yuuki spy on the conversation

It was fun to watch Yuuki and Kyou’s perspective on the scene as well. It made everything feel a lot more consistent to see where each character was coming from. It’s also a clear display of Kyou and Yuuki’s ability to work together despite their conflict.

Kyou tells Tohru that he was listening

It’s interesting that Yuuki is the first to jump into action, but Kyou is ultimately the one who talks Tohru into admitting her true feelings. The episode seemed to be mapping Kyou on to Tohru’s mother, which makes me wonder if I should read into that more.

Fruits Basket Episode 4: A wild boar gets loose

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Kagura introduces herself

It’s tempting to just cover this show regularly. It’s a lot of fun. This week’s episode largely seems to expand the cast a bit by adding another zodiac animal to the mix. However, I think it also did a great job of introducing Kyou through Kagura. I’m enjoying how the series explores its characters through Tohru, even if she tends to feel the most awkward to me.

Kyou promises to marry Kagura

I think Kagura is pushing the absurdities of her characters a bit much, but I also find it funny that she’s right on the cusp of the standard yandere character. Her affection causes Kyou pain and she fits the knife-wielding stereotype as a child, but something about her use of fists makes her feel less threatening.

Tohru wonders about Kyou's true form

It’s a very small part of the episode, but I’m curious about Kagura’s comment about Kyou’s “true form”. In its simplest sense, it could just reference a part of Kyou’s past that he’s trying to hide. It could also be a reference to his zodiac animal, though. There’s a tiger in the zodiac, so I wonder if it’s related to that. But it could be anything, right?

Kyou recounts his training

This scene was probably my favorite part of the episode. We’ve largely seen Kyou define himself using his rivalry with Yuuki, so it’s interesting to see this genuine sense of enjoyment from him. We get to see it through Tohru as an outside observer, and it opens the door for Kyou to be almost grateful to Yuuki.

Tohru figures out which animal Kagura is

I know it’s minor, but I love how smug Tohru looks in this scene. She looks so proud of herself for figuring something out after it’s spelled out to her. I guess I just like smug faces in general…

Tohru learns something from her grandfather

I’ll be curious to see how things go next week. Tohru seems strangely underdeveloped as a character so far, and this call makes it look like the focus will shift to her. I’m assuming her grandfather is calling to tell her that she can move back into his house, but I guess we’ll see.

Spring 2019 Grab Bag Week 3: Fruits Basket

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Kyou's idea is rejected

Fruits Basket Episode 3

I was definitely expecting a standard romance setup for this series, but I have to say that I’ve been enjoying it so far. As I’ve said before, I have no history with this series, whether it’s with the original adaptation or the manga, and I still think it has a lot to offer despite preceding many similar story concepts. I do kind of question where it goes from here, though. The first three episodes do a great job of setting up the main love triangle, so I almost get the sense that adding more Souma family members just introduces standard romantic obstacles.

Kyou is compared to Yuuki

While I had no idea what to expect from Kyou in the first episode, I like how their rivalry is set up. The concept of having two characters each seeing what they lack in the other is one that I like to see. And I think this series has set that scenario up well. Yuuki’s aloof and mysterious nature naturally attracts people’s attention, but it ultimately keeps them away. Conversely, Kyou’s direct nature makes it easy for others to mess with him, but he becomes more approachable as a result.

Tohru gets a kiss

So…there’s a random German girl and I don’t know what to think about that.

Yuuki starts to open up to Tohru

Watching Yuuki casually walking upright in his rat form was surprisingly funny. Also, I appreciate the imagery of bars when he’s talking about his personal feelings. This adaptation feels visually strong on a general note as well.

Tohru struggles to help

Tohru is also strangely adorable despite her somewhat heavy-handed “nice girl” character type.

Tohru wonders about each person's strengths

The analogy of the plum on every person’s back is also an intriguing concept. I like how it fits with the general theme of the episode, and the message alone is great. It’s probably my favorite part of the episode.

Fruits Basket First Impressions (1): Tent dwellers

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Tooru leaves for school

Yeah, I’m a little late to this game, but I would argue that it’s somewhat appropriate. I’ve never read the manga or watched the original adaptation, so I’m starting off strong by remaining out of the loop. As a result, I actually wasn’t expecting the supernatural angle, so the first episode made for an interesting experience.

Tooru is conquering the slugs

The story follows Tooru Honda, who is trying to live alone after the death of her mother. With her mastery of slugs and ants, she pitches a tent in the forest, but she’s found out by the Souma family, who own the land. Rather than evicting her, though, they offer to give her a place to stay that won’t get buried in a landslide. In the end, Tooru returns the favor when she discovers that the Souma family have a habit of turning into zodiac animals when they’re hugged.

Tooru wants to be a cat

I wasn’t actually expecting the zodiac animals to be the focus of the series, but I think it could be cool. At this point, I’ve heard the zodiac story time and time again, so I admit that I’m a bit tired of hearing it. But that’s really just my own problem.

Using waves to attack

From the first episode, the characters seem promising so far. I really liked a lot of the facial expressions in this episode, since they made the scenes fun. It looks like we might end up with a fairly large cast to develop, so it could be fun.

Yuuki calls for some help

I’m definitely curious about how the relationships will be developing in this series. Yuuki Souma, who represents the rat, is largely introduced as the main love interest in this first episode, but it seems counter to typical zodiac story. The cat is the one who is left out of the zodiac, and Tooru is shown empathizing with the cat early in the episode. However, Kyou, who represents the cat is barely introduced in the opening episode.

The family turns into animals

Additionally, Shigure ends up representing the dog, which is Tooru’s actual zodiac animal, so I get the feeling he’s supposed to be important here too. He does seem like he’s meant to fill the role of “adult” in this story, so it’s hard to judge. Basically, I’m saying I don’t know what to feel. Send help.

Juuni Taisen Final Episode (12): And I thought I was indecisive

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Wow, they actually gave us an entire episode devoted to Rat’s wish. I don’t think you could come up with a more appropriate ending for this series than to have the entire series erased from the mind of the victor. Well, this series has been quite the ride.

I was honestly surprised that Rat didn’t choose to bring Monkey back. It would have been my guess of the 100 wishes. I’m not entirely sure I agree with his reason for rejecting it, either.

Awkwardly enough, this is probably my favorite scene in the episode. Honestly, the thought of trying 100 different ways to ask a girl out and failing every single one sounds pretty gruesome to me. Plus, I found the simulations to be pretty funny.

I mean…did they really, though? Sure, Horse turned out to be more cowardly than he appeared, but talking with him for a few seconds would probably give that away.

I know they needed to get to 100 because it matches Rat’s power, but this scene seemed to drag on a lot longer than it should have for what was mostly unintelligible noise.

Final Score: 7/10 For probably all of the wrong reasons